When Did Satan Fall like Lightning?


In one of the more enigmatic verses in the Gospel of Luke, Jesus tells his disciples, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven” (Luke 10:18). The question isn’t about the “what” of Jesus’ statement. It’s clear that Satan is under judgment. Rather, the confusion is over the “when” of the statement. It might sound like a reference to when Satan became Satan, before the garden of Eden—abandoning his status among God’s heavenly host—but that conclusion would be too hasty. [Read more…]

Does the New Testament Misquote the Old Testament?

Sometimes when a New Testament writer quotes the Old Testament, the two passages do not match precisely. Is the New Testament writer misquoting the Old Testament? Or is there another explanation?

Luke records that when Jesus began his ministry, he went to the synagogue in Nazareth on the Sabbath day. When he stood up to read the Scriptures, “The scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him” (Luke 4:17). Jesus read the description of a climactic arrival of the anointed one from Isaiah 61:1–2, excluding the last half of verse two. That omission is understandable, but if you look at Luke 4:18–19 and Isaiah 61:1–2 side by side, several dissimilarities in what Jesus read are readily apparent. [Read more…]

Are Guardian Angels Really Biblical?

“Every time a bell rings, an angel gets its wings.”

These are familiar words for those of us who make a holiday tradition of watching the classic film It’s a Wonderful Life. The angel Clarence helps George Bailey discover the unseen but tremendous significance his mundane life played in the lives of others. It’s a heartwarming story, full of hope and encouragement. But what about its theology? Are guardian angels—like Clarence—really biblical?
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What Did Jesus Mean by “Gates of Hell”?

“Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah!… I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matt 16:17–18). The “gates of hell”? Why did Jesus respond to Peter’s confession, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God,” in this way? (16:16)
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Do the Dead Sea Scrolls Answer the Canon Question?

Cave IV at Qumran

The Dead Sea Scrolls, discovered between 1947 and 1956, transformed biblical studies. Found in a series of caves near an archaeological site on the northwestern shore of the Dead Sea known as Qumran, they contributed to research on ancient scribal practices and the history of the Hebrew language. But beyond this research, the scrolls also directly affected an issue that has long been debated—the Old Testament canon. Did this find solidify what should or should not be included in our Bibles?
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What Does the Vision in Ezekiel 1 Mean?


We are prone to make assumptions about God and His favor when life has us down due to sin, mistakes, or incomprehensible circumstances. Of all the Scripture passages we might turn to during these times, the bizarre vision that opens the book of Ezekiel would not register high on our list. However, reading this passage with its original ancient context in mind reveals a powerful message for its original recipients and for every believer.
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Who Has the Authority to Edit the Bible?

How strange would it sound if a friend described what they did this morning like this? “After she got out of bed, she took a shower and then made a quick breakfast for herself—just some coffee and a bagel. I was in such a hurry that I didn’t even finish my bagel and just took the coffee with me!”

Be honest. You would probably wonder if your friend needed medication. Although your friend was describing what she did this morning, the first few details sounded like she was talking about someone else. If the information was about her and spoken by her, why not use “I” and “my”—what we call “first person” pronouns in grammar? Why would she refer to herself in the third person? We just don’t talk or write like that.
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Are There Really Two Versions of Jeremiah?


If we look beyond the details of Jeremiah’s anguish and apparently fruitless ministry, we can spot a dual emphasis in the book that bears his name: judgment and repentance. But emphasis is not the only double issue. Two full versions of the book have survived from antiquity—and they diverge in many ways.
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What Does It Mean To “Stand in the Council”?


Most people think a prophet is someone empowered by God to foretell the future. No doubt, prophets announced God’s intentions, but forecasting future events wasn’t their primary job description. A prophet’s chief task was to serve as God’s mouthpiece to His covenant people Israel and to her enemies. So how did someone become a prophet? Was there some sort of heavenly qualification? In fact, there was.

You might think the standard for a prophet was whether their words came to pass exactly as uttered (Deut 18:15–22). But that’s actually a by-product of the real litmus test, which we read about in Jeremiah:

For who among them has stood in the council (סוד, sôd) of the Lord to see and to hear his word, or who has paid attention to his word and listened? [The Lord says] … “If they had stood in my council (סוד, sôd), then they would have proclaimed my words to my people” (Jer 23:18, 22).

What does it mean to “stand in the council”? Jeremiah elaborates: “to see and to hear his word … to pay attention to his word and listen.” The one essential test of a prophet—that preceded their ability to deliver a divine message—was that the prophet had to see and hear God in His council. [Read more…]

Who Are Gog and Magog, and What’s So Evil about the North?

The terms “Gog and Magog” seem to factor into biblical prophecy quite a bit. Do a Google search for them, and you’ll come up with quite a few conflicting (and sometimes fanciful) articles. Most speculation attempts to tie Gog and Magog’s appearances in Ezekiel and Revelation to a specific geographical location or country.

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